BRUSSELS (AP) — NATO says the first of six Patriot missile defense batteries deployed to southern Turkey to intercept possible rocket fired from Syria is operational.
The alliance's supreme commander Adm. James Stavridis (stav-REE'-dihs) says the deployment represents "a clear demonstration of the agility and flexibility of NATO forces" and NATO's willingness to defend allies.
The United States, Germany and the Netherlands are providing two batteries each of the latest U.S.-made Patriots, optimized for intercepting incoming rockets.
NATO says the first battery to become operational was a Dutch unit. It will help to protect the city of Adana. The rest of the units are expected to become fully operational in the next few days.
Syria has not fired any of its surface-to-surface missiles at Turkey during its nearly two-year civil war. Its government has described the NATO deployment as a provocation.